Towards a comprehensive set of GPS-based indicators reflecting the multidimensional nature of daily mobility for applications in health and aging research

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GPS tracking is increasingly used in health and aging research to objectively and unobtrusively assess individuals' daily-life mobility. However, mobility is a complex concept and its thorough description based on GPS-derived mobility indicators remains challenging. With the aim of reflecting the breadth of aspects incorporated in daily mobility, we propose a conceptual framework to classify GPS-derived mobility indicators based on their characteristic and analytical properties for application in health and aging research. In order to demonstrate how the classification framework can be applied, existing mobility indicators as used in existing studies are classified according to the proposed framework. Then, we propose and compute a set of selected mobility indicators based on real-life GPS data of 95 older adults that reflects diverse aspects of individuals' daily mobility. To explore latent dimensions that underlie the mobility indicators, we conduct a factor analysis. The proposed framework enables a conceptual classification of mobility indicators based on the characteristic and analytical aspects they reflect. Characteristic aspects inform about the content of the mobility indicator and comprise categories related to space, time, movement scope, and attribute. Analytical aspects inform how a mobility indicator is aggregated with respect to temporal scale and statistical property. The proposed categories complement existing studies that often underrepresent mobility indicators involving timing, temporal distributions, and stop-move segmentations of movements. The factor analysis uncovers the following six dimensions required to obtain a comprehensive view of an older adult's daily mobility: extent of life space, quantity of out-of-home activities, time spent in active transport modes, stability of life space, elongation of life space, and timing of mobility. This research advocates incorporating GPS-based mobility indicators that reflect the multi-dimensional nature of individuals' daily mobility in future health- and aging-related research. This will foster a better understanding of what aspects of mobility are key to healthy aging.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalInternational Journal of Health Geographics 2019 18:1
Volume18
Issue number1
Number of pages20
ISSN1476-072X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2019

ID: 4386948

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